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Health & Fitness Menstrual migraines: everything you need to know

16:10  13 may  2018
16:10  13 may  2018 Source:   cosmopolitan.com

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From why you ’re getting them to how to get rid of them… Few women look forward to their periods for the simple fact that they are mentally and physically enduring. Mood swings, food cravings, bloating, abdominal cramps, breast sensitivity, nausea

Here’s everything you need to know . Often migraine sufferers can identify triggers that that suggest a migraine onset is likely to follow. The most common trigger is stress, followed by missing meals or sleep, dehydration, or hormonal changes, especially in females around the menstrual cycle.

Everything you need to know about menstrual migraines © Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved Everything you need to know about menstrual migraines It had been happening every two weeks, like clockwork, for five months.

The worst attacks involved sharp, blinding pain that seared up the back of my head, along with nausea, fatigue, and light sensitivity. It would go on for hours; sometimes the only solution was sleep.

Migraines and other migraine-related symptoms plagued me daily. The more mild episodes were less painful, but still frustratingly stubborn: migraines arriving in the form of aching sinus headaches not cured by any over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever or decongestant.

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Migraine occurs more often in women than in men. Although migraine headaches are equally common in young girls and boys, the number of girls affected Attacks may occur several days before or during the woman’s menstrual period. There are women who also get the headache mid-cycle, at the time of

If you get menstrual migraines without aura – a neurological occurrence in which your vision is lost or “If you need to take any drug that treats migraines more than once or twice a week, including Knowing common headache triggers can help you reduce the frequency with which you get them.

Then, for two weeks, I would have virtually no symptoms - until it started all over again.

After several months, I finally opened up my calendar, determined to figure out what was triggering them. As I scrutinised the dates of my migraine episodes, I started to connect the dots. Why did I have symptoms every day for those particular weeks in December, and then not again until January? And why did that pattern repeat itself every month?

  Menstrual migraines: everything you need to know © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc That’s when it clicked: My period was the trigger.

My husband and I practice fertility awareness for our family planning needs, so I know the ins and outs of my cycle like the back of my hand. Whenever my period started, so did the migraines; whenever I ovulated, they disappeared. I talked to my doctor, who agreed that my migraines weren’t random - they were menstrual.

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Menstruation and its related hormones can trigger headaches and migraines in women. Cleveland Clinic: “Hormone Headaches Menstrual Migraines ,” “CGRP Inhibitors for Migraine Prevention: What Prescribers Need to Know ,” “Hormone Headaches and Menstrual Migraines : Management and

Women get menstruation every month, but we also don’t know everything that we should know about our periods or what happens when we get it. The issue is when you are in so much pain that it can also cause more pain to exercise or stretch,so you need to know your limits and be careful.

What are menstrual migraines?

Migraines triggered by hormone fluctuations in a woman’s monthly cycle are considered menstrually-related migraines (MRM), which the National Institutes of Health classifies as any migraine episode that occurs up to two days before the onset of a period and three days after, for at least two out of three periods.

“Some studies have identified that about 70 percent of women with migraine have MRM, while others have shown more conservative numbers of 40 to 50 percent,” says Jelena Pavlovic, attending neurologist and assistant professor at New York’s Montefiore Health System. “But menstrual migraine is often underreported and underdiagnosed because, in many women, the attacks often start prior to the onset of bleeding and/or do not last the whole menstrual period.”

  Menstrual migraines: everything you need to know Why does menstruation have the power to trigger migraines in so many women? Blame oestrogen.

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Menstrual -associated migraine is a type of migraine that occurs not only around a woman’s period but also at other times during the month. To further complicate things , each type of contraception has different potential side effects, and it may take some time before an effective and safe method is

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“Menstrual migraine is commonly thought to be ‘triggered’ by the late-luteal phase [or premenstrual] drop in oestrogen,” says Pavlovic. 

"Identifying my migraines as menstrually-related was the most valuable thing I’ve done"

Since my migraines start with menstruation but continue for nearly two weeks, there are likely other common triggers causing me to experience migraines during a time when I’m particularly susceptible to them (oestrogen levels surge around ovulation, which likely explains why I find relief at that point in my cycle).

But menstruation remains my initial trigger - which means it has also been the key to figuring out how best to treat my migraines. 

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Period problems: Wouldn't it be great if you could circle a date on your calendar and have your period actually show up then? You'd plan beach trips around it and you'd never be caught without a tampon. Unfortunately, a little variation is typical: 10 Things That Mess With Your Period Menstrual migraine treatments

There are no specific treatment options identified solely for MRM, but a combination of traditional migraine treatments, alternative therapies, and hormone-related strategies can be effective. 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs

OTC or prescribed NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen, can be a first line of defence in treating migraines, though they may not quite do the trick. A 2013 review of clinical trials showed that the effectiveness of naproxen often depends on the severity of the migraines and whether it’s being used in conjunction with other medications.

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Did you know you could have what's called a silent migraine without actually having a headache? Surprisingly, migraines can occur without the classic pulsing head pain. In fact, about 3 to 5% of people with chronic migraines experience such headache-free migraines , known as "silent migraines ."

Menstrual -related migraines affect up to 60 percent of women who experience any type of migraine . However, they may become worse following delivery due to sudden hormonal shifts. Headaches during pregnancy need special attention to make sure that the cause of the headache is

  • Triptans

Triptans are a type of drug that work to reduce the swelling of blood vessels in the head, are one of the more popular prescription medication options for migraines.

“A long-acting triptan may be used preventively, beginning about a day before the expected onset of symptoms and continuing for the usual length of symptoms,” says Pavlovic. “For this method to work it is important that a patient have a regular menstrual cycle and keep a good headache diary, so she can calculate when her migraines are likely to start and can make a plan to avoid other triggers.” 

  • Transdermal estradiol

For women who don’t find much relief with non-hormone treatments, transdermal estradiol (like in an 0estrogen patch) can help. Since MRM is linked to low levels of oestrogen, raising those levels around the time that patients normally experience migraines is a potential solution.

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“[Transdermal estradiol] can be applied for a week, starting about five to seven days premenstrually and continuing through the second day of bleeding,” says Pavlovic. Again, this method is preventative, so it helps to be able to track and predict your menstruation. 

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Diagnosing menstrual or hormonal migraine can be tricky, since other contributing factors need to be ruled out. If menstrual migraine occurs frequently, it may be possible to take medication designed to prevent an attack, otherwise you may be prescribed medicine to take away the pain once it has started.

We asked three gynecologists to answer all the most important pre-IUD questions. Here's what you need to know before booking your appointment. It makes menstrual periods lighter, they can even disappear over time in many women. We know that it decreases the risk of uterine cancer, it can also

  • Caffeine (maybe)

It's no coincidence that some OTC painkillers for migraines include a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine - according to the Cleveland Clinic, the stimulant is sometimes used as a treatment for migraines, though it can also contribute to migraines and cause rebound headaches.

Holly Lucille, a private-practice naturopathic physician and educator, says caffeine works on multiple levels to assist with migraines: “It’s often considered a taxi that moves pain-relief ingredients quickly through the bloodstream, but it’s actually a pain-reliever in its own right.”

However, a 2016 study in The Journal of Headache and Pain suggests that the discontinuation of caffeine intake gives migraine sufferers better results. Pavlovic agrees. "In those who have frequent headaches, daily caffeine intake can worsen them and lead to more headaches,” she says. “They are advised to limit, if not completely cut out, caffeine from their diet." 

  • Magnesium

Magnesium is pretty widely accepted as a potential remedy.“Magnesium may be in short supply in those who suffer from migraines, acting as a co-conspirator with hormone fluctuations in causing the condition,” says Lucille.

"Magnesium has been used primarily as a preventive agent for menstrual migraine," adds Pavlovic. The American Migraine Foundation also acknowledges that magnesium is a reliable preventative strategy with an “excellent safety profile.” (Just remember to consult a doctor before taking any dietary supplements.)

'I'm still figuring out what works for my migraines'

It’s been more than a year of trial and error so far.

I know that a large glass of water followed by a cup of caffeinated coffee first thing in the morning does wonders to stave off many of my symptoms. If a migraine develops anyway, I take a triptan; if I wake up with one already in progress, a painkiller containing caffeine is the fastest and most reliable option.

I’ve also started taking a daily dose of chelated magnesium, though I’ve struggled to find an effective amount that doesn’t upset my stomach.

But ultimately, identifying my migraines as menstrually-related was the most valuable thing I’ve done. I’m not at the mercy of my migraines as much as I was before: I know what’s causing them, when they’ll start, and (thankfully) when they’ll end.

For a condition where prevention remains one of the most useful treatment strategies, that knowledge is power.


PSA: It's Not Weird To Get Hot Flashes Before Your Period .
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